Released by the Australian Human Right Commission in 2013 – 4.1 million employed people in Australia (38.2 per cent of all employees), have unpaid caring responsibilities. This number will grow substantially over the coming decades and is likely to affect all of us.
Demographic and policy changes will mean the numbers of women and men, who have caring responsibilities while employed, is increasing. An aging demographic and increases in longevity will likely result in a higher proportion of people with unpaid caring responsibilities for older people.
This in turn will potentially impact the existing arrangement and organization of work across the economy. It will also have a significant social impact, with the potential for nuclear family households no longer being the norm.
For carers, trying to juggle paid work and caring responsibilities can adversely impact career progression and work performance. The provision of support also has a long-term negative impact on participation in employment and income. When caring stops or the level of need decreases, carers often find it difficult to reenter the paid workforce.
In the context of changing demographics, potential skills and labour shortages, and increasing caring responsibilities, organizations need to give serious consideration to how they can retain their existing workforce and attract new people.
The challenge will be enabling people to attend to their caring responsibilities while maintaining their attachment to the workforce. Access the Report and Toolkit here